The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

June 30, 2017

June 30, 1981

Wendy Wood (October 29, 1892 to June 30, 1981 ) was one of the driving forces for Scottish nationalism in the 20th century. She was also a writer (poetry, memoirs) . Wood in fact is a nom de plume, being her mother's maiden name. And Wood was a painter: we read in her Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article:

Later in life she exhibited regularly at the Royal Scottish Academy and Society of Scottish Artists. Her mother was a still-life painter, her grandfather Samuel Wood was a sculptor, and her great-uncle Thomas Peploe Wood was a painter, so an affection for art clearly ran deep in the family.

As we notice from the title of Wood's  last book Yours sincerely for Scotland: the autobiography of a patriot (1970) her energy was spent in the direction of nationalism, and we quote the ODNB:

Wood stood twice for election for Edinburgh town council in 1935 and at the Glasgow Bridgeton by-election in 1946, where she gained 14 per cent of the vote. She was arrested and detained in the 1930s for disrupting a blackshirt rally, and was twice in prison...
[She had worked against Scottish support of the English war effort against the Nazis.]: in 1951, when she was found guilty of inciting the crowd in Trafalgar Square on the day of a Scotland v. England football match, and for non-payment of national insurance as a protest against the state of women's prisons. That same year she showed a side of her policy of direct action not likely to appeal to either the British government or the Scottish National Party by speaking at an old IRA rally in co. Kildare, where 'her speech ... was given with such sincerity and earnestness that it evoked a storm of applause from ... hundreds of IRA veterans'
[In her elder years] She placed a union flag under the staircarpet of her Georgian villa in Howard Place so that she could tread on it every day: towards the end of her life she gave fragments of the flag away as trophies to her younger supporters. She also grew a cutting in the garden from the rose at Fassifern in Lochaber said to be the very one from which Prince Charles had taken his white rose badge in 1745. In her later years she appeared increasingly interested in Jacobitism, and along with her supporters entertained the claims of 'Prince' Michael, a Belgian citizen, to be the 'direct and lawful heir' of the Stuarts. Wood herself always supported direct action and civil disobedience...

She recalls her childhood in 
Yours sincerely for Scotland:

Our house ...was always full of interesting people, because my parents were urgently intererested in all the arts. But I met Rudyard Kipling, on my own, at the age of seven. I was hunting for my lost cat when he spoke to me.

And the last word goes to her Oxford Dictionary of National Biography biography:

"Her liking for folklore no doubt had some connection to her reputed gift of second sight......" 

Wendy Wood though more artistic, and less lethal, was Scotland's Maude Gonne.

No comments: