Heritage Quay is committed to the health and safety of our visitors and staff. We are closely monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19, and we are working to monitor and respond to the evolving conditions and following guidelines.
Sometimes when we catalogue a collection, an interesting story appears as a tangent. The life of Arthur Arathoon Paul is one of those stories.
We’ve recently been working on the Society for the Promotion of New Music archive. Amongst the papers was a box of creative writing from someone called “Arthur Arathoon Paul”. His unusual middle name was intriguing, particularly as a quick search seemed to suggest that he wasn’t a professional musician, or composer. As I love a historical puzzle, I decided to look a bit deeper.
Helpfully, a colleague had come across some more clues – it seemed that Arthur had left the SPNM around £100,000 in his will (about £1.7 million today) in 1967. And there seemed to be a connection to a G. Paul who was involved in music in some way. Thus armed, I took to the internet. A quick websearch suggested that that unusual name, ‘Arathoon’ was Armenian in origin. Thanks to a well known genealogy website, I found an Arthur in several British records and followed the breadcrumbs. This is his story…
Who was Arthur Paul?
He was born in 1896 in Singapore, in the Straits Settlement (part of the British Empire) to Thaddeus Paul and Mary Pauline Arathoon. Arthur’s parents were both from important Armenian families in Singapore, a small number of whom (including the Paul, Arathoon, Sarkies and Stephens families) had built properties including hotels, churches and were merchants and traders.
It’s worth noting that these “Armenians” were actually from the city of Isfahan, which is in modern-day Iran.
The first we see of Arthur in British documents is the 1901 Census. He appears to be staying with his mother and older sister Mary Sophia in Dulwich, London (helpfully for us), with the Stephens family.
By 1911 the Pauls (now with younger son Gerald but not Thaddeus) were living permanently in Hampstead, London, with a small staff of servants. They lived alongside merchants and stockbrokers, and the odd celebrity.
Arthur next appears in 1915 when he joined the 28th London Battalion (the ‘Artists Rifles’). Incidentally, their headquarters in London is now a venue called The Place which hosted SPNM concerts.
He enlisted on the 11/12/15, went to France on 5/3/16 and was sent home 6/7/16 then was then discharged in September 1916! So he had a pretty short war. The reason for discharge was “being no longer fit physically for war service”. Considering that the 1/28 Rifles were running an Officer Training Corps base at the time, it looks like he was injured in a training accident. From the dates in his creative writing books, Arthur spent the rest of the war staying at Selma and East Cliff Manisions in Bournemouth writing jocular romantic short stories.
After the war Arthur became an independent gentleman. When asked to give a profession, he used ‘merchant’ (perhaps when helping with the family business) and ‘author’. A selection of his poems was published in 1929 but the rest seem to be unpublished. He also had a go at writing music in the 1940s and we have his manuscript book with this work.
Arthur never married and died without a direct heir (more on that below).
So what about his family? His elder sister Mary married a Mr Galistan/Galestan (another prominent family from Singapore).
Gerald, his younger brother, was born c. 1904. Gerald trained as a barrister following education at Pembroke College. He worked for a firm called Escombe, Mcgrath and Co before quitting to run the family business on the death of his father Thaddeus. In his spare time Gerald was a songwriter.
In 1938 a song he had written was personally selected by Gracie Fields for inclusion in her new film Keep Smiling. Unfortunately Gerald didn’t live to see the premiere.
Arthur’s immediate family faced almost complete tragedy in the 1930s-1940s.
Mary Sophia (already a widow) died in 1930, leaving a small fortune to her father Thaddeus. He then passed away, in London, the following year. Most tragically, Gerald died of heart disease, still in his 30s, just before Christmas 1938, leaving a small part of his own fortune to a charity helping poor or sick musicians. He died shortly before the premiere of Keep Smiling, and so never got to see his song on the big screen. Finally, Arthur’s mother Mary died in 1942. Arthur was the only one left.
However, one last breadcrumb from the archive shows that he still had some family in Britain.
Arnold (1909-1971) and Cecil (1913-1983) were the sons of Mary Arathoon’s sister Lily and were Arthur’s cousins. Both lived in the North of England.
We still haven’t completely solved the mystery of why Arthur left a fortune to the SPNM, but they were very glad he did. Following years of financial insecurity, the money allowed them stability at a crucial time and contributed to the future careers of composers such as Peter Maxwell Davies. If you know anything about this fascinating family please get in touch!
The Philip Greenwood Archive consists of research material from former University of Huddersfield student, Philip Greenwood’s PHD project on the life and works of the late Polish classical composer, Sir Andrzej Panufnik. Items in this collection include: Greenwood’s research notes, books and journal articles, letters, interview transcripts, written work by Panufnik, newspaper and magazine extracts about the composer- and a great number of music scores! I was unfamiliar with Panufnik before I began helping to catalogue this collection, but quickly became intrigued by his story, which emerged from the pages of Greenwood’s notes.
Andrzej Panufnik was born in Warsaw, Poland on the 24th September 1914. Panufnik’s father was an engineer by trade with a passion for designing and making violins, while his mother was an accomplished violinist and composer. Despite being immersed and interested in music from an early age, Panufnik’s father discouraged him from perusing a career in music as it was ‘not a profession for a gentleman’. Nevertheless, with his mother’s support, he started receiving weekly music lessons at the Warsaw Conservatoire. He became a full-time student there at age seventeen and gained his Diploma with Distinction in 1936, graduating in half the usual time. He then completed his studies in Vienna, Paris and London. With the prospect of an imminent war in Europe, however, Panufnik returned home to Warsaw to be with his parents. Shortly afterwards, the Nazi and Soviet armies came marching into Poland, an event which triggered the Second World War. All Polish music was subsequently banned by the occupying forces. Panufnik fiercely opposed the Nazi occupation, and spent the war years playing piano for underground and charity concerts, as well as writing patriotic songs under a pseudonym. The failed Warsaw Uprising of 1944 had tragic personal consequences for Panufnik, as not only were all of his early compositional works entirely destroyed, but his brother also lost his life as a member of the Polish Underground Resistance Army. Panufnik later recreated three of his lost works and dedicated his rewritten Tragic Overture to his brother. After the war, Panufnik was appointed conductor of the Cracow and Warsaw Philharmonic orchestras and enjoyed success as a composer and conductor. However, Panufnik was frustrated with the political control over the lives and work of creative artists. In 1954, he left Poland and settled in England. He said that he would only return to his home country once it was free from Soviet occupation.
Three years later he was appointed conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, where he experienced great success as a conductor, although he left the post in 1959 to concentrate on composing. In 1963 he married his second wife, photographer Camilla Jessel, settling in Twickenham near London. Shortly afterwards he won first prize at the International Composers’ Competition for his Sinfonia Sacra which proved to be his breakthrough. More compositions followed and he achieved international recognition for his work. During his lifetime he wrote ten symphonies, three string quartets, and concerti for piano, violin, bassoon and cello. In 1990, he finally returned to his native Poland for a performance of a number of his works at the Warsaw Autumn Festival. He died the following year. Shortly before his death, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to music.
Unfortunately, there is no record of Greenwood’s completed thesis being held by the University library, although we did come across a possible draft version of the thesis in the collection. Nevertheless, Greenwood’s passion for Panufnik’s story and music is evident through the dedication he put into his research. For example, in his research notes, Greenwood describes an emotional meeting with the composer’s widow, Lady Camilla Panufnik, where she showed him her husband’s studio. This meeting proved instrumental in convincing Greenwood to pursue his PHD project idea.
If you’re curious to hear what Panufnik’s music sounds like, have a listen to these recordings of his Tragic Overture and Sinfonia Sacra, the scores for which are held here at Heritage Quay.
The Patrick Stewart exhibition is open to all to view seven days a week in the Heritage Quay exhibition space. To view additional material from the Patrick Stewart archive, please visit the research room when it is open to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays 9.30-5.00pm. For more information and questions about the collection, please email email@example.com
In the week that Sir Patrick Stewart returns to the iconic role of Jean-Luc Picard in the series Star Trek: Picard, the University Press team explores Sir Patrick’s career history and highlights through the contents of the archive deposited by the actor and former chancellor in Heritage Quay.
We are pleased to add this rare record to the British Dance Band Collection. It is a special souvenir recording issued to commemorate the maiden voyage of the RMS Queen Mary in May 1936. The BBC’s band-leader Henry Hall was asked to direct the ship’s orchestra for the trip to New York and to mark the occasion, he wrote “Somewhere At Sea” as the signature song of the brand new liner.
In the British Dance Band collection is a vast array of old 78 rpm records with attractive labels. Here’s a rare one from about 1930 advertising Siemens light bulbs! It is hoped that the collection will provide research material across a wide range of disciplines. Perhaps a Graphics student might write a thesis on pre-war record label design……..
An advertising record produced for the promotion of Siemens and their Opal and Pearl light bulbs. Recorded by an unidentified group of musicians and the vocalist Eddie Grossbart. Listen out for a lovely pair of solos….an alto just before the vocal and a trombone later on. The presence of Grossbart and the composer credit “Jeanette” have led some people to speculate that the musicians are members of Ambrose’s Orchestra. I am not so sure, and suggest that the band resembles that of Howard Godfrey’s Waldorfians. The record seems to have been pressed using the Duophone “unbreakable” process, but the recording timbre and quality is definitely that of Piccadilly. I would also suggest that the record was made towards the end of 1929 or even 1930 (rather than 1928 given in the discographies).
THE UK experiences of people of African-Caribbean descent over four generations are charted and explored in an ambitious new film that draws on more than 80 newly-recorded interviews with individuals whose ages range from 11 to well over 80. It focusses on the African-Caribbean descent community in Huddersfield, and the town’s University – staff and students – contributed to the project’s diverse production team, with the project archive being made available at Heritage Quay.
Now, as part of Black History Month, the 70-minute documentary, titled Windrush: The Years After – A Community Legacy on Film, is to have two showings at the University of Huddersfield where it was first screened last summer. A public screening in association with the University of Huddersfield Archives will take place in Heritage Quay as part of the Windrush Huddersfield Exhibition on Saturday 19 October (12 noon to 3pm). This event includes a Q&A session with key community members and opportunities to look at extensive displays. The Department of History is also to host a screening on Thursday 24 October (2.15pm to 4.15pm), in the Joseph Priestley Lecture Hall (room JPG/18) where there will further opportunities for discussion.
The prime mover in the project is Milton Brown,
the son of invited economic migrants who came to Huddersfield from
different parts of the Caribbean in the post-war years. He is now chief
executive of Kirklees Local TV
(KLTV) and is also studying for a PhD at the University of
Huddersfield, so involving the University was an ideal way of linking
research and community interests. A key collaborator was the film
historian Dr Heather Norris Nicholson, who has been a Senior Research
Fellow at the University’s Centre for Visual and Oral History.
“We needed to put this story together for a wider audience,” said Mr
Brown. “I was doing it purely to give the African-descent community a
voice, rather than another generation dying out without being able to
tell the story.”
As the interviews progressed, the constant theme was one of struggle,
as newcomers from the Caribbean and their families, faced economic and
social pressures, including day-to-day racism, continued Mr Brown.
“They had to take jobs that nobody else wanted and it was a question
of ‘how do we overcome this?’. They retreated from the mainstream of
society and started to build social and economic dependence within their
own community. There was a quiet dignity among the majority who came
here and they showed an ability not to quit, even though the odds were
stacked against them.”
Funding for the film included £34,500 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The University of Huddersfield also provided financial support. In addition, Professor Barry Doyle, who heads the Department of English, Linguistics and History, in discussion with Milton Brown, enabled PhD researcher Joe Hopkinson and a number of undergraduate students to contribute to the project as part of their own studies and work alongside volunteers and the 14-strong production team at KLTV.
“While a lot of the people involved in it are University people, they
weren’t doing it for the University, but working within the community.
And there were people from a lot of different ethnic and social
backgrounds involved,” said Professor Doyle.
Mr Brown added that having such a diverse team was a major aid in
understanding the historical and cultural journey that was being
recorded. “We created a community within a community and learned a lot
from each other.”
The team conducted 80 new interviews and the film includes footage
from 45 of them. All of the material – plus a research copy of Windrush: The Years After – is archived at Heritage Quay.
“Making the film was only one part of the project,” said
Dr Norris Nicholson. “Running alongside it was a process of creating
educational resources, gathering papers, posters and memorabilia, and
then cataloguing the material and depositing it at Heritage Quay, where
it is available now.”
The team agree that the findings and the testimonies from the project
have a relevance to all peoples who experienced migration, wherever
they settled. “But there are also dimensions that are specific to
Huddersfield,” said Dr Norris Nicholson, citing the district’s
industrial history and patterns of post-war re-development.
“Some people we interviewed talked about their journeys to the UK and how they reached Huddersfield. Others reflected on their own lives as Yorkshire-born peoples of African-Caribbean descent. We were conducting oral history and tracing individual life stories, so a lot of details came out about experiences and attitudes during different decades. The film tells a story of national and international significance from a local perspective.”
Story originally published at https://www.hud.ac.uk/news/2019/october/windrush-the-years-after-huddersfield/