Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thomas Coram, Coca Cola & Christopher Lambert

On this day in 1461 Edward of York would defeat Queen Margaret at Towton in Yorkshire and go on to be crowned Edward IV.

I seem to be on quite a roll coming across birthdays and anniversaries of historical figures that are of huge personal significance to me. Today is another whopper, a huge one. I have actually been researching this man for some time as London's Foundling Museum, formerly the Foundling Hospital, features in my work and there is a chapter named after its' founder Thomas Coram. As it is now known The Thomas Coram Foundation for Children was the first children's charity in Britain, established by Royal Charter in 1739. You can follow the Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.

Thomas Coram, was born in Lyme Regis in 1668. The Wikipedia entry for the year states he was born on March the 29th - there may be some ambiguity however; he died on March the 29th 1751. Again I have the slight issue with where to start where to stop. He spent his early years in America and upon his return to Britain was horrified to see the conditions in which the poor were living. He lobbied peers, friends - including Handel and Hogarth and Parliament and finally a Royal Charter was granted in 1739 by George II to create the hospital. If you are in London and have a chance to visit The Foundling Museum it really is well worth it. Here a portrait by Hogarth of Coram from 1740 - courtesy of Wikipedia and on display at The Foundling Museum.

On March the 29th 1871 the Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria in memory of her late husband.

Several sources state that on this day in 1886 John Pemberton created his 'brain tonic' Coca Cola. I found this from the Wikipedia entry on Pemberton :

With public concern about drug addiction, depression and alcoholism among veterans, and "neurasthenia" among "highly-strung" Southern women,[6] his medicinal concoction was advertised as being particularly beneficial for "ladies, and all those whose sedentary employment causes nervous prostration, irregularities of the stomach, bowels and kidneys, who require a nerve tonic and a pure, delightful diffusable stimulant."[7]

7. Extract from Mark Pendergrast : For God, Country and Coca Cola

The British pharmacologist Sir John Robert Vane was born on March 29th 1927. His research and study into prostaglandins and the inhibiting effect of aspirin on inflammation would earn him one third of the Nobel Prize in 1982.

Also with a birthday today are Edwin Lutyens - 1869, Eric Idle - 1943 and for those Highlander fans out there Christopher Lambert, 1957.

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Eustace.

I made this last night and it was fabulous : duck breasts with pomegranate.

1 comment:

Catriona Ling said...

I'm sure you have probably already read the amazing book 'Coram Boy' by Jamila Gavin - it won the Whitbread Children's Prize but I loved it as an adult. I am currently combing my bookshelves to find it again so I can reread it.