Monday, 15 September 2014

The village sculptor at work

Aristeidis Metallinos of Ano Korakiana by Jan Bowman (Sept 2014)
As a generous present for a small favour my friend Jan has sketched the laic sculptor Aristeidis Metallinos, working from a photo lent by Angeliki Metallinos, his grand-daughter. It’s been good to get a note from the academic who wrote about him in 1985 – now Dr. Eurydice Antzoulatou-Retsila, since 2009 professor and Dean of the School of Cultural Studies of the University of Peloponnese in Kalamata – 300 kilometres south east of here. Her email spoke of meeting the sculptor in early 1982 ‘during my scientific fieldwork’. She thanked me for my interest and asked me to please let her know ‘if you think I could be of help in your research about Metallinos and his work.’...
I had felt, at that time, very lucky to have discovered him. At that period I was curator at the State Museum of Greek Folk Art in Athens and I had thought that his work could be the subject of a monographic museum, which actually his family created. I have not visited the village since then, although I was professor at the Ionian University for several years…speaking to my students about his work.
From me: …I am so delighted that I have heard from you as I can always imagine that sheer hard work in academia these days (I am semi-retired from Birmingham University aged 72) makes it almost impossible to respond to questions that are not about the work of the moment.
I have been trying to assist the family, in particular Angeliki Metallinos, the laic sculptor’s grand-daughter, to help put her grandfather a little more on the map.
But for your essay about him, Aristeidis Metallinos is more or less unknown even in Corfu; even in Ano Korakiana. That may be because his work, as you may know, was not only a commentary on the history and fast-changing pastoral economy of Corfu and his village but also involved strong, even pungent, illustrations of his contempt for the establishment – everywhere in the world but also closer to home.
This is perhaps still a sensitive matter long after the artist’s death…
I love the village where we now stay for under half the year. I am Philhellene, infected by my dad via his second marriage in 1949 to Maria Roussen, an Athenian… I lived with my mother and stepfather, but dad invited me to Greece in 1957 - a callow 16 year old. I made a four day train journey via Venice to Athens to be met by the lovely relatives; then sent on a tour of the great sacred places with a young Greek guide whose joy and pride and enthusiasm in what she showed us, is with me always. Except the Acropolis I’ve never returned. They live in my imagination free of the resented attentions of a million other admiring sight-seers.
The help I sought from you, if I may be allowed to pursue this, is whether the ribald, Chaucerian, erotic and subversive element of Metallinos’ work fitted with your impressions of him in 1982 as a laic sculptor associated with Corfiot folklore. There seem to have been two sides to the man as he admits in that ’double-faced' self-portrait
You saw his relief satirising the 'Saint of Preveza’ and perhaps some other pictures of his this area that I am treading  softly.
That’s me - the double faced (cat.92) ~ Aristeidis Metallinos 1980
I’ve had helpful advice from Dr Alexandra Moschovi at Sunderland University. I spent a half-day with her in Newcastle a few weeks ago. She showed me how Aristeidis’ work could in several cases be linked to contemporary events in the 1970s and 1980s. She reminded me that, especially in the 70s, there was still the memory of censorship from the Stone Years and that the sculptor may have been perceived as being a dangerous rule breaker, even risking the reputation of his village and family and others.
On the precautionary principle, I am assuming all this is not entirely in the past. The sculptor lies with his second wife Eleni in the churchyard of Eklisia Paraskevi just below the village, his ‘ museum' just visible through the cypress trees between the church and the village above.
The current plan I have agreed with Angeliki who has the support of her parents Andreas (son of the sculptor) and Anna…is to work on a catalogue describing each of the works. At some time in the next two years I would greatly appreciate being able to share our progress on this with you and in the meantime I hope our research into Aristeidis Zach. Metallinos has your blessing.
I hope you will forgive me using your first name. There is no disrespect intended and I am well aware that without your academic reputation we would not even have been able to get a small piece about the sculptor in Wikipedia. Thank you so much for coming back to me. Kindest regards…
*** ***
We ate a late supper in Handsworth on Wednesday evening, Guy, Emma, Amy, Richard, Lin and I around our kitchen table...
...Oliver has finally gone to sleep upstairs in our room. In the morning he’ll wake to climb from his cot and into our bed. But nanny and grandpa will have left. Downstairs new Hannah, is for the moment in the centre, before Amy gets her to sleep in the bouncing cradle, one with a battery that makes it vibrate. When that’s not enough Guy puts his smartphone playing a modern lullaby – white noise - beside the cradle - the same comes from radio telescopes probing galaxies.
Supper over, all packing done and case weighed to regulation 20 kilos, tickets and passports checked, we with Guy to Digbeth coach station. Two hours to Luton. A crowded wait in long queues of familiar strangers. A flight at dawn and a landing through cloud into a rain-swept world where we picked up a car and drove up, via Lidl, to blessed Ano Korakiana. It rained and rained. The second night I woke to thunder and lightning. Lin stood at the French windows - a woman in black against its constant flicker. Rain pounded our tiles, brimming the gutters, flowing over their length in shining streams, flowing over the balconies to splash on plaka and concrete below.
In the sunny morning we continued tidying the garden; pruning and bagging a three month spread of Bougainvillaea and Wisteria, and, with extending loppers bought from Technomart near Gouvia, cutting back the tops of the lemon and orange tree where they grew higher than the balcony.
That wood balcony that affords such views of Corfu, the sea and mainland Greece, is crumbling.
Morning in Corfu
.No Greek would regard it as anything but a temporary structure. To halt the effects of time we've bought Resoltech - a kind of archaeological wood treatment that demands careful application.
Resoltech 1010 and hardener 1014
Instructions are on the internet and we've consulted friends here who have used it.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Κίνημα του 1935

Maria Roussen ~ Η Μαρία Ρουσσέν ~ by Yiannis Moralis ~ Γιάννης Μόραλης
When my half brother George Pericles Baddeley gave a funeral oration for his mother, my Greek stepmother, Maria Baddeley, née Roussen, at Saint Sophia in Moscow Road in Bayswater in November 2005, he may have repeated a consciously adopted inaccuracy about her father, his grandfather, Admiral Pericles Roussen Ναύαρχος Περικλῆς Ρουσσέν. George said:
...However, this picture of a happy family life was rudely interrupted when Pericles Roussen’s principled monarchist beliefs led to his imprisonment for refusing to jeopardize the Greek fleet. This caused his early death and the circumstances of the family changed dramatically....
As anyone who explores modern Greek history via personal memories and family stories the tendency to make 'map corrections' that brush out certain landmarks in the Greek political landscape is more normal in Greece than I've experienced in England. Comfort, security, the preservation of good manners, revolve around shakier historical constructions than in the United Kingdom - tho' just try to find a single unremaindered primary or even secondary school history book of Great Britain published after the 1960s, and explain in less than a hundred words to one of your overseas students the meaning of the words printed on the front of every British Passport under the words 'European Union' are the words 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Iteland'.

There's book - or two - there. So George refers, at that solemn moment, in the church, to "Pericles Roussen’s principled monarchist beliefs"
Nine years later, as a result of occasional sifting through the internet on the subject of Admiral Roussen - without result, and asking delicate - so I thought - questions within the Greek side of my family, equally resultless - I come across two small times in two US newspapers. A librarian in New York State has at last got round, perhaps with the help of a grant, to getting old copies of local newspapers, probably notoriously transferred to microfilm, onto the web. I send one of these stories to George. Can this be your grandfather? I'm confused. He replies, via a Facebook message, almost at once:
How interesting! To be honest, this was only what I was told as I couldn't find anything at the time when I googled him. Also, I never really attempted to research him before. I'm delighted to see he was anti-monarchist. Probably this was hushed up by my Yiayia and all eh? x
These were the newspaper items.
New York Herald Statesman ~ 11 May 1935
Rome New York Daily Sentinel ~ 11 May 1935
I replied to my brother:
So glad you see him as a Republican and a Venezelist! As a senior serving officer he must have been faced with a fateful decision. Some story don't you think? He must have understood the possible consequences and the effect on himself and his family...(I added a link referring briefly to the Movement of 1935, in Greek Κίνημα 1ης Μαρτίου 1935)
and I added a reference to Nikolaos Plastiras Νικόλαος Πλαστήρας:
This man was a prime actor - a devoted and honourable republican several times PM of beloved Greece . Your grandfather must surely have known him. There is a fascinating untold story here! 
Absolutely, it would be great if you find out more about him. I'll let you know if we come across anything - Kate is going to look in the Times archives. x
The story of the coup and its context are a core part of modern Greek history the National Schism Εθνικός Διχασμός, etc - but of private interest is the 'silence about this in the family. X S
Maria Baddeley and family 8 June 1986
Half a day later: As ever with research - and I should have known this - further investigation by George's Kate, reveals a clearer picture of what happened to George's naval grandfather. The conclusion I had been jumping towards - assuming partisanship in Admiral Roussen and an error in George's funeral oration for his mother, Roussen's daughter. The 'silence' I insinuated came, more probably, from painful sadness and respect. The 'crime' for Pericles Roussen was disgraced and imprisoned was an act of conscience:
Simon. Kate has researched the Times archive and found an article which comes tantalisingly close to completing the events of the time ... as it says that there was a rebellion and the existing government ordered the Greek fleet to fire upon the rebel boats and that they they would also bomb them if they wouldn't surrender. What I've heard through my family - I'm sure from my mother too - is that my Grandfather refused to fire upon fellow Greeks when ordered to do so. Placing what I and other family know with this bit of information suggests that could well be why he got 10 years imprisonment rather than a death sentence. I surmise that he didn't want to support a command under marshall law to kill his own people. So I think this is not inconsistent with him having been a monarchist. Assuming this is all true, whether or not he was a monarchist, I think that he was certainly a hero! 
George. Fascinating. I am sure that now we will learn more. Thanks so much Kate. Can I have the reference?
My brother George sent me this picture of his grandfather Pericles Roussen and his grandmother Lilly
  • George Baddeley I have no idea about what my Grandad's motives were at the time but all I can say is that the vague memories I have are, firstly that he was clearly very wronged and, secondly, that he acted in a highly principled way. It was also assumed that he was a royalist - but I have no recollection about how this came to be accepted as a family truth. I drafted my speech at my mother's funeral in collaboration with all my sisters so it seems clear that none of us have been wise to this new very interesting revelation that you've uncovered. It's just like "Who Do You Think You Are"!
    7 hours ago · Unlike · 1
  • Simon Baddeley There is a time for everything. It is good that his family are stewards of the nearest we can get to the truth about this man, husband, father, grandfather, (half-grandfather) and great grandfather. Any chance of a photo? I recall that Maria always had a portrait of her father in uniform near her.
  • George Baddeley Yes - I'll scan you one in the next week.

I wish I could get a sight of Admiral Roussen's Court Martial transcript. George has forwarded the reference found by Kate, who's a librarian...
Title: Greek Revolt.
Pub: The Times. Detail:(London, England), Monday, Mar 04, 1935
Page: 14; Issue 47003. (1407 words)
Gale Document Number: CS235088996
The Times ~ 4th March 1935
Thanks, George. I came too early to the conclusion that your g'f was partisan (in a way that I approved) when actually he acted as a man of conscience, not obeying an order - the most difficult of all things for a professional soldier. He must have known the possible consequences. Had he acted in a partisan way as I first thought, then if the coup succeeded he would have been lauded by the winners 'Treason doth never prosper, for if it prospers, none dare call it treason'. But Admiral Pericles Roussen did not act on the basis of loyalty to Venizelos and the rebels (much as you and I may approve their anti-monarchist cause) or rebellious disobedience to the government, but in obedience to his conscience - the loneliest of all decisions. I honour him. OK to blog?
Yes - it's on the Times archive so this is fine. You can also mention what I've been told over the years by my family, namely: 1. this, my mother told me - and I'm sure it's true - that he refused to accept a command to fire on his fellow Greeks - and I understand that was probably the main - or possibly the only - reason why he was court marshalled and imprisoned and 2. All the family understand that he was a royalist, but clearly not still totally unwilling to obey an unreasonable order. This, alongside his reported defiance of his political masters, would explain why my mother always said that a gross injustice had been committed against him - and it could also explain why he got ten years' imprisonment while the actual organisers of the rebellion got death sentences: if he had been a fellow conspirator I would assume that he would have also received a death sentence. 3. He developed an ulcer while in prison which resulted in his untimely death. 4. I've heard from more than one source that he was highly respected by other navy officers and all the sailors under his command. 5. The lack of detailed information about this whole episode is almost certainly explained by the fact that it was a major family trauma. All things considered, he seems to have been a highly honorable and brave man. G
With some of the 'Greek side" in 1995 ~ Miranda, Kate, George and Linda

*** *** *** ***
Saturday and our last visit to Lydbrook to see and discuss progress on the recovery of Rock Cottage. On the way south we dropped into an industrial estate to pick up a glass shower screen at wholesale prices - a big Chinese owned and managed warehouse. Back to the motorway we saw regular clusters of police motorcyclists, ambulances and police vans travelling north after the NATO Summit in Newport where thousands had been employed to provide security. I carried the shower screen up the narrow path to the cottage, stopping now and then to improve my grip and catch my breath. Rock Cottage's distance from the road has always been one of the things we've liked. We're in the middle of Lydbrook, almost above its thriving shop and the car park of the Social Club in the centre of the village, yet detached, edging into the Forest of Dean, its trees standing on Bell Hill almost overhanging the few other houses around us - all illegal now, since they get no direct sunlight for nearly half the year; sat on the steep slope of the Lydbrook Valley that leads down to the river Wye - the longest village in England. Adam and Jack were already hard at work on the renovation mapped out by Linda with Martin, who joined us with Sandra in the early afternoon.
Martin, Adam, Linda, Sandra in the sitting room
Their focus has been on getting the kitchen and bathroom with their plumbing and fitting and walls improved and in working order. The old iron bath will go back with a shower added. The lads were working on cleaning up and pointing one stone wall having drylined the wall over where the bath will go.
Adam and Jack
The cottage inside and outside is like an injured patient covered in bruises and bandages but on the mend. Everything's a bit of a mess but the sight and sound of the work proceeding with Martin's neat ink drawn plans of the final result fill me with pleasure, the more so for knowing that Lin is happily in charge deciding how she wants things. Seeing the high quality tools in use is good to. If I started again on the small amount of DIY I'd never buy cheap tools...
As used by professionals
...The kitchen's almost in working order. There'll further dry lining around the front wall.
We were worried about water leaking into one of the upstairs rooms, our bedroom. A recommended builder had estimated spending over £6000 re-doing the whole roof. Another - Steve Adams - came up Bell Hill around lunchtime; said the roof looked fine, that there had been a very wet spring causing wet to seep in via the chimneys. On those the lead flashing looked good though and your ridge tiles and the slates on the rest of the roof look fine.
"You need to wire brush that area on your chimney where the paints flaking. Repaint it and perhaps run some silicone round the top of the flashing"
Steve told us the only completely sure way to stop any leak would be to rebuilds the chimneys inserting a lead 'tray', but that that was hardly worth the cost, when regular painting every couple of years, and using the house with the stove working more, should sort the problem.

I wandered round the house with the lopper cutting back the hazel and ash that was already springing up again after the clearance of the garden by Evolution Trees in January. Keeping the encroaching forest at bay will require, has always required, regular pottering about with scythe, sickle and secateurs. It's needed too to allow light to dry the building. I plan a bonfire in November, with lots of wood left over for the wood burning stoves. Meanwhile Lin's been boxing up bits and pieces of chins and glass to go upstairs to allow space for Adam and Jack to work in the sitting room. A previous builder, against Lin's wishes, tried to make the interior of the roof of the cottage extension look 'tudorish' with fake unevenness in the skimming and rough timbers.
"Cover it all!" said Lin to  Martin
"No problem"
Lin and I headed home around 5.00pm. Adam had assured us he'd keep us up to date with work as it proceeded - with pictures attached.
"We could be staying here by next Summer, and the family" I said to Lin. Finger's crossed and our good fortune for having such our friends as these.
Martin and Sandra in the sitting room in July 1991

Martin and Sandra in the sitting room in September 2014

*** *** ***
Last Thursday's Handsworth Helping Hands committee, the last for quite a while, saw good attendance and me getting it in the neck over the sale of the project's ageing power tools that have sat two plus years unused in the Park compound because none of us is accredited to use them and they're all a brand - Efco - that now has no UK dealer network for spares and maintenance. I set up a bidding operation with a few people, starting with the compound staff (who'd looked after the tools in store),  that brought us in hardly £100, but ten old power tools (mowers, leaf blower, hedge trimmers, chain saw, strimmers) are on their way, and out of our responsibility, with a signed receipt and waiver that they're sold 'as seen'. I thought it was best to be rid of them without the time spent cleaning them up, and doing all the things you have to do to get an item on eBay or some other nearly new bargain site and the responsibility that accrues if anything sold goes wrong or causes harm. Lin and Denise disagreed and said I'd lost us the project money; others backed my argument, so I just won a wavery vote of confidence at least.
HHH Committee in our kitchen ~ Denise, John, Charles, Lin (Hon Treas), Mike (Chair), Jimoh (photo: Simon, Hon.Sec)
Lin took the last lot of plants donated by Handsworth Park and along with Oliver tidied the beds on Church Vale.
Linda and Oliver at work on a planter in Church Vale

Monday, 1 September 2014

'...the wiry edge of our fretfulness...'

For the last two years I've attached myself to 'The Birmingham 1000 Elders group' linked to Prof Janet Lord's Centre for Healthy Ageing at the QE Hospital in Birmingham.
...acquiescentia in se ipso...
A few times a year we answer questions following the series of tests - physical and mental - I did at the hospital about two years ago (took three hours) and get tea, coffee cakes and buns in a seminar suite at the new QE Hospital to enjoy Ladybird level lectures on the state of the research and the meaning of our own data for our health.

It's great because it takes me underneath headliners in the media and shows what is known and not known about getting old without becoming over-preoccupied with the likely problems of ageing - loss of immunity to infection, inflammation....
Perhaps the most intriguing finding ~ inflamm-ageing 'associated with'? 'causing'? my immune system to degrade with age

I love research. I'm egotistical enough to be intrigued with how it applies to me. There's also a useful sample of old people - 'elders'  - equally interested.
The role of systemic inflammation and the way statins might or might not help was interesting

It's a good way to stay informed about latest findings about one's health without trying to have the kind of chat with my GP that, these days, would be a recipe for being regarded as a bit of a time waster or even a hypochondriac, meanwhile I'm contributing to medical research. I enjoy the suggestion that collecting street rubbish for Handsworth Helping Hands ...

or digging our allotment is helping to blunt the 'wiry edge of my fretfulness'

*** *** ***
The last Sunday in August is the official end of Summer in Ano Korakiana, the date marked by a service with a meal at Saint Isadora Άη-Σίδερο. This tiny church, inside which you could not swing a cat, sits on a jutting rock on the seventh of the twenty-nine hairpin bend road to Sokraki, the village on Trompetta Ridge above Ano Korakiana. The end point of some of our walks, a lovely way to look down to the village and its surroundings.

Στον Άη-Σίδερο
Γράφει ο/η Κβκ 31.08.14
Κυριακή σήμερα, παραμονή του νέου έτους σύμφωνα με την Ίνδικτο («εκκλησιαστικό έτος»), και στο γραφικό εκκλησάκι του Αγίου Ισιδώρου πραγματοποιήθηκε η Λειτουργία και ακολούθως η αφιερωμένη σε (τοπικό) θαύμα του Αγίου, Λιτανεία. Ιδιαιτέρως πολύς ο κόσμος που συνέρρευσε, κυρίως από την Άνω Κορακιάνα και το γειτονικό Σωκράκι για να παρακολουθήσει την υπαίθρια ιερή τελετή στην επιβλητική  σκιά του πεύκου, με την παρουσία τριών ιερέων.

Μετά τη Λειρουγία η εικόνα του Αγίου θα λιτανευθεί έως τη Δεξαμενή, όπου θα λάβει χώρα σχετική παράκληση και η πομπή θα επιστρέψει στη μικρή εκκλησία. Εκεί, στους στρωμένους πάγκους θα απλωθούν σπιτικά γλυκίσματα, που με τη συνοδεία καφέ θα προσθέσουν μιαν ευχάριστη ανάσα στους επιτελούντες, αλλά και στον κόσμο που θα παραμείνει μέχρι τέλους.
Χθες εξάλλου, τηρήθηκε και το έθιμο της φανουρόπιτας.

Η εορτή σηματοδότησε τυπικά και το τέλος του φετινού καλοκαιριού…
The last time we were in Ano Korakiana during August was 2009. We walked up to Ag.Isadorus on the last Sunday of the month....
Sunday morning we rose earlier and walked through the village while it was cool, heading upwards through the narrows of little Venice. As we approached the seventh bend on the Sokraki road we heard chanting and so came to St Isidoras and to the door of the little church where a narrow mezzanine hangs over the road and we could lean on the sturdy spinach green railings for an hour as people of all ages came, lit candles, made the sign of the triple cross, bustled about the chapel, kissed the pictures of the saints – Isidoras and Fanarios. After the service the priests led a procession a little further up the hill to the boundary of Ano Korakiana and back. Tables and chairs were placed in the little square beside the church, invisible from the road, and cakes and coffee and sweet-bread were passed around. A large man beckoned us to sit at the table. Places were made for us; plates brought. Another man who’s face I’d often seen at events in the village fetched us delicious custard pastries. “These are in honour of Saint Fanarios whose day was three days ago.” “Your name is kirios...?” I asked “I am Mr Savvanis...gradually we are becoming friends." [Liana's translation from the village website tells me that Savannis is a name associated with Ano Korakiana since 1473, and I think I was speaking with Dr. Spiros Savannis, a paediatrician. Later note: Ano Korakiana's President living on the Platea, sitting centre left to the right of Pappas in the B & W picture]
End of summer ~ a dead Hairy Dragonfly corpse on our dewed lawn

*** *** ***
I have, after work with mattock, stones, recovered wood, the rake, maul and earth thumper, remade the central path through the allotment. From this I will run more tributary paths - straight and curved.
The widened path on Plot 14
It's clear now, as it wasn't when I first rented an allotment in June 2012, that wherever I dig to plant or crop I need a path on one, or both sides, of the growing space. This avoids my tread compressing the soil where I'm planting. A path lets me move around the plot to dig, sow, plant, inspect, weed, and harvest. Some people's paths are made up of regularly cut grass. They look good but having started with these I find them tricky to keep mown. They're too narrow to scythe. I don't want to rely on a small strimmer. Uncut grass paths become weed spreaders, as couch roots reach out into the soil beside the path. My rather intractable ground becomes so easily compressed and difficult to work. So I'll take advantage of that problem by preparing lots of regularly trodden paths. Vanley's intertwining paths on his plot are now firmly compressed flat earth - almost weedless. I'm not using carpets - unwieldy at best - to mark these out. I have a collection of recovered industrial carpet tiles; easily picked up and put down, stored and re-laid. They help suppress weed. I may, on busy paths, be able to just take up these tiles to use on other parts of the plot. I've also invested in a 100 x 2 metre roll of heavy duty 'landscape membrane' so that over the next two months Winnie can go on digging the spaces between the new paths, harassing and removing weeds, while adding the membrane for further suppression. We will exercise the strictest of immigration policies to prevent incursion of foreign weed from the derelict plots on either side of Plot 14.

I've bought a most useful new tool - a long handled digging fork, sometimes called an Irish fork, a wood handle 58" (147 cms) long - not sold in garden centres. I've transferred part of Lin's flower beds that marked the top margin of the plot; removed the the one on the right of the new centre path making a flat parking space next to the site road delivery and storing of topsoil, compost and manure.
The bottom end of Plot 14 is turning into a wilderness around the beehive, protected by the shed, the steel fence between the allotments and the park and a fast expanding briar patch that would have been perfect for Brer Rabbit's plan of escape. Oliver and I have been taking our pick of the ripe blackberries on it; feeling them for a moment before plucking to check readiness for eating. Oliver's mouth is lined with purple when we get home..

 *** *** ***
The news from Rotherham about the prostituting of young women is dire...last week saw the publication of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham (1997-2013) by Alexis Jay...from the first paragraphs of the reports exec summary
No one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1400 children were sexually exploited over the full Inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013.
In just over a third of cases, children affected by sexual exploitation were previously known to services because of child protection and neglect. It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered. They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators.
This abuse is not confined to the past but continues to this day.

The 1999 book Child Sexual Abuse in Victorian England by Louise A. Jackson is the first detailed investigation of the way that child abuse was discovered, debated, diagnosed and dealt with in the Victorian and Edwardian periods. This matter of the 'grooming', sexual abuse of minors - young men and women - has a long toxic history. Amid the current news from Rotherham about ‘grooming’ – with its current black on white amplification – it might be easy to forget the recurrence of a series of scandals associated with paid access by older men, some in public positions of responsibility, to children’s homes for sex. Recall 'The Kincora Boys' Home' in Northern Ireland, scene of a notorious child sex abuse scandal; the 'North Wales child abuse scandal' involving over a dozen children’s homes being used similarly. The 'grooming' was done by institutionalising vulnerable children. Instead of 'grooming' direct as in Rotherham and elsewhere, certain staff in these children's homes performed 'grooming' in-house, pimping the ‘service’ to a network of contacts. Recently I've heard of the The Elm Guest House child abuse scandal where we have yet to see the start of an enquiry into allegations that prominent British men, including former government ministers, senior MPs, top police officers and people with connection to the royal household attended parties during the 70s and 80s. There’s also the 1996 U.N. study of The Impact of Armed Conflict on Children by Graça Machel documenting how the arrival of peacekeeping troops has been associated with a rapid rise in child prostitution in areas of conflict, and in 2004 Gita Sahgal reported prostitution and sex abuse wherever humanitarian intervention efforts are set up.
I'm not trying to dilute the horribleness of what I am reading about what has been uncovered - at last - in Rotherham, just trying to point out that if we truly believe in racial equality there are no ethnic groups that are better or worse than any others when it comes to being vile to the young and the vulnerable. The defining of sexual abuse as an evil seems to be about where civil rights was in the 1960s. There are many examples of it being viewed as 'normal' behaviour; something taken for granted. Christ. seldom intemperate, was enraged by two things - hypocrisy ("Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."..."ὑποκριτά, ἔκβαλε πρῶτον τὴν δοκὸν ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ σοῦ, καὶ τότε διαβλέψεις ἐκβαλεῖν τὸ κάρφος ἐκ τοῦ ὀφθαλμοῦ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ σου") and hurting children - "whoso shall offend one of these little ones it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." "Ὃς δ’ ἂν σκανδαλίσῃ ἕνα τῶν μικρῶν τούτων τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ, συμφέρει αὐτῷ ἵνα κρεμασθῇ μύλος ὀνικὸς εἰς τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ καὶ καταποντισθῇ ἐν τῷ πελάγει τῆς θαλάσσης.

If I ask myself about the source of my vehement spitting rage at this behaviour, I would have to recount the experience I had of being sent to a boarding school called Lindfield in a place called Hyde End House near Brimpton in Berkshire when I was 6 years old, along with my sister Bay, who was 5.
Hyde End House in the 1940s - as I remember the place

A post from Xx on the Francis Frith website in July 2010:

Lindfield School, Hyde End House, Brimpton.
I would love to hear from anyone who has memories of Lindfield School, Hyde End House, Brimpton.
I was there from when I was six until I was eight, between 1947 - 1949, and have many recollections of the place - some good: the beautiful grounds, the old kitchen garden, topping & tailing the gooseberries, wonderful summer outings to a local stream, where we swam, paddled, & splashed to our hearts content: some not so good: trying to understand the finer points of long division! And some horrendous: the cane was much in evidence, especially for the boys.
Does anyone remember the headmaster, Mr Hart? There was also a Mr Bellamy and a Miss Dunlop, both teachers, and someone called Steve who brought the milk, in churns, from the farm.
Some of the pupils I recall are: ...(list of names)
I loved the Ovaltine tablets sold at Mullins, the village shop - so much nicer than the sweets we were given as prizes on Sports Day - which looked like delicious jellies but turned out to be VERY hot crystallised ginger!
We were marched over the fields to St Peter's church every Sunday and some of us ended up in the most terrible trouble for eating the farmer's strawberries - almost a hanging offence!
Apparently, the schoool transferred to a different location at some point, and became Slindon College*, still in existence.
It's all a long time ago but the memories are still very vivid. 
Tue Sep 2nd, at 2:01 pm
simon commented:
'Vivid' indeed. I have memories of Mr Hart and his colleagues. I went to Lindfield School from age 6, with my sister Bay aged 5, from 1947-1949. I was never myself caned, just beaten a few times with a slipper, but I saw vicious canings, that left the small child who watched these punishments horrified for quite a long time. Lindfield was a vile place and the official bullying, especially of boarders, by some staff was a crime which today would have involved some of them being sent to prison. My mother had just divorced, was working in Fleet Street and desperately needed to earn her living. All her life she regretted sending us to that 'horrible place'. The current child sex abuse scandals resonate for me as being far worse, but I learned where this kind of thing starts in closed institutions and how people, when you told them about it, didn't believe you. I and my sister were 'rescued' from Lindfield (because my stepfather Jack Hargreaves, just arrived in my mum's life, did believe me and guessed what was going on). I and my sister went on to fine schools, and have had happy successful lives. After boarding at a place called Ashfold, I went on to Westminster and Cambridge and although I still think of Lindfield now and then, I'm well recovered from that very unpleasant two years in the clutches of the charming Mr.Hart and his crew.
Dear X. I have posted a memory of Lindfield on the Francis Frith site. I'm so sorry that my comments are grim ones but I and my sister, as almost toddlers, had bad experiences at Hyde End House. I guess we must have been there at the same time as you. It's a long time ago but I still get memory flashes about the place - such a beautiful house - and of the surface charm of Mr Hart (ironic name). I'm a retired academic from Birmingham University, married with two grandchildren, one just born. I've had a good life and count myself fortunate that the only intimate encounter I've had with evil was at Lindfield - and that was nothing to the stories of abuse we now read about in the media. I do not regard the the fact of caning being normal in those days as an excuse. The caning I was aware of at other schools existed in the 1940s but in a far rarer and milder form. Hart was a man - sadly there are too many like him - who relished humiliating those in his care. Kindest regards, Simon Baddeley
 * My note: Slindon College was indeed originally called Lindfield School; started in Westbourne in 1946 before moving to Slindon House in 1956, and nothing whatsoever to do with 'my' Lindfield School near Brimpton which, I learned, many years later closed down for good not long after I left. 
2 Sept: Dear Simon Baddeley, Many thanks for your message sent through the Francis Frith website. I was very interested to read your comments re the ghastly and loathsome Lindfield school - although, did you know that Mr Hart started the place with seemingly altruistic intentions? Shades of A.S.Neill's Summerhill, no less; a multicultural, co-ed boarding school was extremely unusual in those days: whatever happened? Was he ill? Depressingly, the few people with whom I've had contact seem to have accepted the sadistic regime as normal - 'It's as it was in those days, lots of children were given the cane.' etc., etc. Do you remember Mrs Hart? Fox stoles, various, immaculate curls and singing around the piano, but at least she wasn't violent, and learning the words of 'London Pride' seems relatively harmless, although am not so sure about 'Rule Britannia' and 'The British Grenadiers'! There is so little known about the place and the snippets of information I've gleaned are very few. I managed a chat with ...Mr Hart's daughter, a few years ago. She did a lot of referring to darling mummy and daddy and was more interested in telling me about her esteemed forebears, one of whom was Wilberforce, (presumably not the Hart side of the family), than discussing the finer details of her father's rages. She said she'd be in touch about a reunion at Slindon College but I didn't hear any more from her and when I contacted the school they didn't know what I was talking about! I wish I'd contacted her father during his lifetime but he died in 1986 so too late now. Do you remember any of the names I posted on the FF site? I am in touch with Xxx who, like me, went there when he was six years old, far too early to be sent away anywhere, let alone to such a hellhole. I have just inadvertently deleted forever the 'Hart' file that I was going to forward you! Hell's bells and damnation - dementia rules! I shall send an SOS to Paul; he might still have the details on his PC. Did you know that Mr H was tried, and found guilty, for assaulting one of his staff at some point in his career? There must be old newspaper reports somewhere? Also, many years ago, there was a BBC documentary about corporal punishment and his name cropped up but I didn't see the broadcast. Someone in Paul's family has a tape of the programme but he hasn't had any success in tracking it down. Yes, we are now hearing about far more horrendous happenings but at least, and at long last, the tide is turning. The abuse of children, in whatever degree, is not only tragic for the individual but for society as a whole; I feel that all the world's problems, from petty theft to large scale wars, stem from the appalling way we have treated our children over the centuries: a sweeping statement but how can it be otherwise? Thanks for being in touch. With all best wishes, X
Dear X. I'm delighted to hear from you. I have assumed that our exchange is in the public domain and so have taken the liberty of posting what we've both written on my blog ...We were little ones at Lindfield. I am fascinated with the extra information you've told me, amazed at how much we children did not know or, if we had known, understood. That is what is so vile about grown-ups taking advantage of the innocence, the almost divine stupidity and foolishness, of children. I'm afraid I've little time for Hart's vision of a Summerhill school. Far from being some sad exculpation (tho' you may disagree) I think the man was skilled in subterfuge. I still recall the egregious charm he exuded in saying goodbye to me and my stepfather when the latter arrived unannounced and drove me away from Hyde End. I escaped once, of my own volition (after my sister had been taken from the school earlier than me). I hardly got further than the edge of Brimpton when Mrs Hart in her car caught me and brought me back. I expected to be severely punished but everyone was oddly nice about my action. I think this was part of the duplicity that ensured Hart's sadism was kept as secret as possible. I did some research into the school about 25 years ago and was able to contact someone who'd been at Lindfield with me. His family farmed near the school. We exchanged memories. He said "Oh yes, Hart only beat the boarders'. I don't know how true that was but it seems all too likely. I have a variety of other memories of Lindfield and I'm sure you do. I was told during a brief period of therapy in the 1980s that the best way to deal with the effects of child abuse is to forget the abuser. I haven't forgotten Hart but he is pretty far beyond those parts of my memory which resonate with childhood experiences. It also helped that my parents full acknowledged the ill-judged decision that sent me and my sister to Lindfield. Even the best can make mistakes and we had, with that exception, the happiest of childhoods, which ironically marks that short spell of misery more obviously than if I had been truly abandoned and long abused. This was very much not the case; to the extent that I can treat the Lindfield episode as a sort of vaccination against evil. I was as it were given a tiny taste of the dreadful things that adults can visit upon children. It taught me the truth of your observation that cruelty to children,'in whatever degree, is not only tragic for the individual but for society as a whole...(so that) all the world's problems, from petty theft to large scale wars, stem from the appalling way we have treated our children over the centuries: a sweeping statement but how can it be otherwise?" I strive to be a Christian in ethics if not in faith. I share Christ's rage (a rare emotion in him) when he said that anyone who harms "these little ones, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

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