[Milton-L] RE: Blue Plaque (or lack thereof) for John Milton *LONG*

srevard at siue.edu srevard at siue.edu
Mon May 8 14:06:11 EDT 2006


Dear Carol et al.

I for one would still favor the window project.  It is not
unreasonable for the rector to want to approve the design or
even have input on where the window is to be commissioned.  The main
thing is to have a commemmorative window in the church in which
Milton is buried. Whatever the design. Surely this is not a
lost cause since the money is available--and that is what it
was intended for.

Stella Revard

Quoting "Dr. Carol Barton" <cbartonphd at earthlink.net>:

> Message
>
>
>
>
>
> Dear Colleagues:
>  
> Here is a copy of the response I received from the Corporation of London re:
> my request for an update of the status on a blue plaque for Milton at Bread
> Street, together with my reply.
>  
> I would now like to propose to those of you who have contributed to the
> Milton Window Project that we apply the equivalent of half of the cost, which
> is to say £500 ($950.00 USD, at the current exchange rate) to the erection of
> a Blue Plaque at Bread Street, and donate the rest of the money either:
>  
> (1) to the Milton Society of America for the institution of a $50 annual
> award for the best first  essay on Milton published; or
>  
> (2) to the Milton Cottage for support of its continued restoration and
> improvement of the Cottage at Chalfont-St. Giles.
>  
> The Rector of the church at St. Giles, Cripplegate where Milton is buried has
> been singularly intractable regarding the content of our proposed window, and
> has insisted that the design and content be to her personal liking to be
> approved (despite the fact that we have commissioned an internationally
> acclaimed stained glass company to provide the artistry). She has also made
> it impossible for us to negotiate alternatives with other potential sites
> (such as St. Mary-le-Bow, which absorbed All Hallows parish when that church
> was demolished in the nineteenth century) due to church politics. I have
> invested a great deal of time and my own funds and energies in the attempt to
> accomplish this dream, but I despair that a dream is all it ever will be.
>  
> A blue plaque is not quite the grand-scale tribute we originally hoped to be
> making, but it is a fit one--and it honors the memory of Sister Pecheux, too,
> since it was she who first requested such an honor for Milton in the 1980s.
> There is something ironically appropriate in the fact that it cannot be
> achieved without the support of Americans. I think Milton would be amused,
> rather than insulted.
>  
> The donations to the Fund have been made anonymously, so my apologies for
> having no other means of contacting all of you directly. Please do reply to
> me privately, and I will report the results online.
>  
> Best to all,
>  
> Carol Barton
>
> ---------------------------------------------
> Thank you very much for you prompt response, Ms. Glass.
>  
> I am happy to know that the project is indeed moving ahead, as I know my
> colleagues in Milton studies will be, too. (It is actually several decades
> since the first application for a blue plaque was made by Sister Pecheux--so
> though it is common knowledge that any process involving bureaucracy takes
> time, on both sides of the pond, this one does seem to have run longer than
> the average course.)
>  
> I don't understand why a small ceramic plaque should be so costly, nor why
> the city in which Milton spent almost all of his life, and the people to
> whom he gave the precious gift of liberty and the right to consent to their
> governance, should need more than reminding of this hundreds-of-years-old
> "oversight" to afford him the honors he so richly deserves. The gross
> mischaracterizations of the eighteenth century notwithstanding, Milton hated
> bad kings, not monarchy, and fought for the right of people of good
> conscience to live according to the dictates of their minds and hearts--that
> is, for the right of the English people not to be enslaved by another's will
> forcibly imposed, whether bishop, king, or domestic tyrant. His reward for
> devoting his life to such principles, and for writing the last and greatest
> English epic--indeed, the only epic of the human race--is that his bones lie
> in relative obscurity in a little church tucked away at the heart of the
> Barbican that was nearly destroyed by Hitler's incendiaries, with only
> a barely legible gravestone and some loaned statuary to mark the place.
>  
> It took Americans and US dollars to place a stained glass window to his
> memory at Westminster; if it takes Americans and US dollars to erect a simple
> blue plaque at Bread Street, I will be happy to poll my colleagues in the
> States and the world over for donations, but forgive me if (as a subject of
> HRH) I am saddened by the notion that such is the case. The only extant
> plaque commemorating Milton that London has seen fit to erect is on the
> hindside of St. Mary-le-Bow in Cheapside. I have a photograph of it,
> presiding grandly over a row of rubbish cans.
>  
> Perhaps such a thing might induce Ken Livingstone or Her Majesty to make a
> small contribution to the cause, too?
>  
> I do appreciate your help. If it will expedite matters to have all of parties
> to whom the placement of a blue plaque at Bread Street is an important issue
> write to the CLRO independently (to give the Corporation a
> better understanding of why this plaque should be a priority over those
> devoted to footballers and society divas) I will be happy to marshal the
> "troops."
>  
> Please do telephone or e-mail me as soon as you have some good news to
> report. I can be reached from noon-8 pm GMT at [my office number]
>  
> I look forward to speaking with you!
>  
> All good wishes,
>  
>  
> Carol Barton
>
>
>
> -----Forwarded Message-----
> From: "Glass, Jennifer"
> Sent: May 8, 2006 5:57 AM
> To: "Dr. Carol Barton"
> Cc: "Twitchett, Michael" , "Hartill, Ted" , "Hunt, Darrell" , "Rayment, Ted"
> Subject: RE: Blue Plaque (or lack thereof) for John Milton
>
>
> Dear Dr Barton,
>  
> Many thanks for your continued interest in your Blue Plaque application.
>  
> As my previous correspondences have confirmed, the 'John Milton' plaque has
> been approved and it is certainly on our schedule.  We have confirmed the
> wording with you and we have identified a location, in principle, for the
> plaque in Bread Street.  We will be visiting the site within the next
> fortnight, seeking an appropriate building upon which to affix the plaque.  I
> am also in the throws of checking to see whether a planned redevelopment of
> Bread Street will provide us with an opportunity to install the plaque as
> part of the building phase, something that I will be talking to our Planning
> and Transportation Department about, however, this will have to follow the
> site visit to double check whether the proposed redevelopment is actually on
> the site of Milton's birth place i.e. "The White Bear, corner of Cheapside
> and Bread Street, at the east side of Bread Street."
>  
> I would be more than happy to have a telephone conversation with you,
> possibly following our visit of the site.  As I am sure you will appreciate,
> the length of time taken for a Blue Plaque application to be processed can be
> considerable.  Unlike English Heritage, we have no designated 'Blue Plaques
> Officer or Department' , and being such place of history, we have a
> considerable number of applications to progress.  I can only apologise that
> this was not made clear to you when you submitted your application.  We will
> certainly be aiming to meet the December 2008 anniversary of his birth,
> however, we can in no way guarantee this. 
>  
> It may be an appropriate time to raise the issue of funding of the Blue
> Plaque with you, so as not to delay to progress of the application any
> further.  The average plaque costs approximately £1000 for its manufacture
> and erection.  We would appreciate any contribution that could be made, and
> wish you every success with this endeavour.
>  
> I hope that this brief update is of use to you and your colleagues.  As
> mentioned above, please do feel free to contact me on 020 7332 1432 if you
> have any further queries.
>  
> Kind regards,
>  
> Jenny Glass
> _______________________________________________
> Corporate & Democratic Services Officer
> Town Clerk's Department
> Tel: 020 7332 1432 | Fax: 020 7710 8645
> www.cityoflondon.gov.uk
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Hartill, Ted
> Sent: 08 May 2006 09:29
> To: 'Dr. Carol Barton'; milton-l at richmond.edu
> Cc: LM - Mansion House General; TC - PRO External; Glass, Jennifer;
> Twitchett, Michael
> Subject: RE: Blue Plaque (or lack thereof) for John Milton
>
>
> Dear Dr. Barton,
> Happy to help! Applications for Blue Plaques are processed initially by Jenny
> Glass, Committee Administrator, Town Clerks Department. If supported they are
> passed on to Michael Twitchett,Group Building Surveyor, Department of
> Technical Services for further detailed investigation and action. Currently
> there does not appear to be any record of an application for John Milton on
> Mr Twitchett's record system. As you can see I have forwarded your e mail and
> he will respond to you.
> Yours sincerely,
> Edward Hartill 
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dr. Carol Barton [mailto:cbartonphd at earthlink.net]
> Sent: 05 May 2006 19:16
> To: Hartill, Ted; milton-l at richmond.edu
> Cc: LM - Mansion House General; TC - PRO External
> Subject: Blue Plaque (or lack thereof) for John Milton
>
>
>
> Dear Mr. Harthill:
>  
> I note with interest that the Freemasons have apparently been able to induce
> CLRO to place a blue plaque "to commemorate the site of the world's first
> Grand Lodge of Freemasons" not once, but twice:
>
>   In 1996 we made an application to the Corporation of London for a blue
> plaque to be erected on the site. We had scores of letters of support for the
> plaque from around the world, which were sent to the Corporation.
>     Encouragement came from Germany, France, Spain, Australia, New Zealand
> and even as far away as Brazil. So, on 24 June 1997, the blue plaque was
> unveiled outside the site of the Goose and Gridiron tavern. Unfortunately,
> the building was to be demolished as part of the property boom of the 1990s,
> when the whole of Paternoster Square was redeveloped.
>     And now, finally, we have had the unveiling for the second time of this
> plaque to the historical importance of the site of the First Grand Lodge of
> Freemasonry in the world.
> Source:
> http://www.mqmagazine.co.uk/issue-14/p-32.php?PHPSESSID=c59cd231db419873a6a6
>  
> I have been appealing to the CLRO for over a decade to do likewise at the
> birthplace of a man who contributed significantly more to English culture,
> politics, and liberty than most of the entities and establishments that have
> been honored with blue plaques, and who has continued and continues to do so
> for three hundred seventy five years--and should not need such lobbying in
> his behalf on that basis.
>  
> Noentheless, if that is what it will take to achieve this small honor for
> someone so shamefully disregarded in the annals of English Worthies, I am
> prepared to ask Miltonists the world over to bombard your office (and if
> necessary, Mansion House and Buckingham Palace) with letters and e-mails in
> support of the initiative to place a blue plaque at the birthplace of John
> Milton on Bread Street.
>  
> I have several times provided the CLRO, beginning with your predecessor Jim
> Sewell, the particulars as to the appropriate location, and the
> scholarly/archival support therefor, but will be happy to send them to you
> again, should you wish me to do so.
>  
> I was told over a year ago that a blue plaque for Bread Street was "in
> process."
>  
> Can you please provide me with the status of that pending action, if indeed
> it is still pending, and if not, with a detailed explanation of the reason
> for the delay.
>  
> If necessary, I will appeal to the Queen herself for something that the Lord
> Mayor should be only too happy to bring to fruition in behalf of a statesman
> and poet who gave so much of himself for and to the English people.
>  
> I realize that you have not personally been involved in this matter until
> now; but I beg of  you to do whatever you can to assist us.
>  
> Milton's 400th birthday occurs in December of 2008. He died 332 years ago. I
> think England has had ample time to recognize its greatest epic poet--and
> that Miltonists the world over have been more than patient in the face of
> such unconscionable delays.
>  
> Very truly yours,
>  
> Carol Barton, Ph.D.
>  
>  
>  
>  Carol Barton, Ph.D.
>
>
> With no other privilege than that of sympathy and sincere good wishes, I
> would address
> an affectionate exhortation to the youthful literati, grounded on my own
> experience.
> It will be but short; for the beginning, middle, and end converge to one
> charge:
> NEVER PURSUE LITERATURE AS A TRADE. ...
> Samuel Taylor Coleridge, _Biographia Literaria_, ch. 11
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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>
> Carol Barton, Ph.D.
>
>
> With no other privilege than that of sympathy and sincere good wishes, I
> would address
> an affectionate exhortation to the youthful literati, grounded on my own
> experience.
> It will be but short; for the beginning, middle, and end converge to one
> charge:
> NEVER PURSUE LITERATURE AS A TRADE. ...
> Samuel Taylor Coleridge, _Biographia Literaria_, ch. 11
>
>


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