Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The American Civil War in Britain - A VAM 2011 Tour

To view a slideshow "tour of the tour", along with pictures of many of the sites, click here.

Here's a look at our expanded itinerary:

Friday, 21 Oct. London Walking Tour of Civil War sites in Belsize Park:

Following an independent lunch at the Spaniard’s Inn in Hampstead Heath, this tour includes sites significant to the pro-Confederate, British Society for Promoting a Cessation of Hostilities in America. The emphasis of this tour will largely be about the roles of numerous Church of England clergymen who actively supported the South in the American Civil War, and includes stops such as a church where numerous meetings involving Confederate agents and naval officers and Anglo-Confederate leaders about intervention into the war. This same church was attended by Jefferson & Varina Davis in 1868. We will return to the hotel to experience a British Tea. You are on your own for the evening – if you have fully recovered from jet lag, you may wish to sample London nightlife or the theatre.

Saturday, 22 Oct. London Walking Tour of Marylebone’s & City’s Civil War Sites
This tour includes sites and discussions pertaining to the political & social activities of the Southern Independence Association, Confederate Emissary to London James Murray Mason, key British citizens contributing to the Southern war effort, US Minister to London Charles Francis Adams and his son/secretary Henry Adams, and the Confederate States Aid Association. In the afternoon, we will visit sites in the City (Square Mile). This tour includes sites and discussions pertaining to the propaganda war waged between the Union & Confederate journals published in London (The London American and The Index) in addition to their strategies, arguments, subscribers, and effectiveness; the London Emancipation Society, pro-Southern street campaigning, and the interesting lives lived by numerous ex-Confederates who fled American after the war to London, including former Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin. You are on your own for dinner, but VAM will lead those interested to The Mayflower pub in Rotherhithe. It was from a Rotherhithe quayside, near a pub called the Shippe, that the Mayflower set sail for America in the spring of 1620. The pub dinner will be followed by an evening walk along the Thames Path along the South Bank to Westminster Bridge for a look at the London skyline at night.

Sunday, 23 Oct. London Walking Tour of Piccadilly & Mayfair’s Civil War Sites
This tour includes sites and discussions pertaining to the British Government’s activities relating to the American Civil War, Confederate Emissary to London William Yancey, Anglo-Confederate activities, the London Emancipation Society, the Confederate Commercial Agency, and the Society for Promoting a Cessation of Hostilities in America. Our final stop for the morning will be at the East India Company for a tea-tasting session. The event starts with a talk by Jane Pettigrew, a tea specialist, historian, writer and consultant. Afterwards you will have the opportunity to try many different types of teas exploring ranges of black, green, flavoured and rare teas. The afternoon will be spent at the Victoria & Albert Museum, where we will have the opportunity to meet with museum staff. In the evening, following an independent supper in Brick Lane, there will be a candlelit tour of Dennis Severs House in Spitalfields – an amazing step back in time to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the home of a London family. As their website states, “the house’s ten rooms harbour ten ‘spells’ that engage the visitor’s imagination in moods that dominated the periods between 1724 and 1914.” (See more about this unique experience at http://www.dennissevershouse.co.uk/.).
Hardy souls will wrap up the evening with drinks at The White Hart pub in Whitechapel.

Monday, 24 Oct. Liverpool City Centre’s Civil War Sites and The Beatles
Once in Liverpool and settled, we will take a break from the Civil War for a bit to spend some time at The Beatles Story, a museum and visitor attraction recreating the 1960’s experience. We will be back in the 1860’s for an early evening walking tour of Liverpool City Centre. This tour includes the headquarters of Fraser, Trenholm & Co, the Charleston-based mercantile firm which orchestrated most UK-based blockade running and Confederate naval shipbuilding, to include the Alabama and Florida. Also stops at the US consulate, from which the war's largest espionage network was orchestrated (a result of Fraser, Trenholm & Co's activities). We will see the elaborate, commanding St George's Hall where the Confederate Bazaar occurred, raising money for Southern prisoners in the North. We will also see the site where the CSS Shenandoah officially lowered its flag, the last Confederate military unit to surrender, ending the war in November 1865. The evening is on your own. For those interested, we will have dinner and drinks at The Cavern where The Beatles became club favourites in the early 60s.

Tuesday, 25 Oct. Liverpool Bus Tour of Civil War Sites
This tour includes numerous sites outside of Liverpool City Centre, such as the sites of the CSS Alabama's and CSS Florida's construction. Also the wartime home of Confederate Navy shipbuilder James D. Bulloch (visited frequently by his nephew Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt), sites significant to Confederate Navy captains Raphael Semmes and John Maffitt. Bulloch's grave will also be seen on the tour, as will the beautiful Allerton Hall, where the party occurred to celebrate the Alabama's successfully evading British authorities and sailing out of the Mersey to prey on the Atlantic's US merchant fleet. Also, a stop at Claremont House, the wartime home of John de Costa, who was a key witness for the United States in the case making claims against the British government for UK-built Confederate warships' damage to the US merchant and whaling fleets. The afternoon tour goes inside the home of Charles K. Prioleau, the chief Confederate financier in Europe. His home still contains the most significant period artwork and architectural features that is authentic to the Civil War era of Southern history. We will also see the home of James Spence, a British merchant who wrote The American Union, a very popular pro-Confederate propaganda book which was well-received in British society. Other sites include the home in which famed Confederate Navy shipbuilder James D. Bulloch died in 1901. You are on your own for dinner, but for those interested we will be having supper followed by drinks at Ye Olde Hole in Ye Wall, Liverpool’s oldest public house dating back to the start of Liverpool’s maritime heyday in 1726.

Wednesday, 26 Oct. Liverpool Merseyside and Magical Mystery Bus Tour
This morning, we will visit two of the National Museums of Liverpool: the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the International Slavery Museum. At the Maritime Museum are collections reflecting the vitality and importance of the port of Liverpool and its role in world history – objects associated with nautical archaeology and the social and commercial history of the port. Highlights of the collections include ship models, maritime paintings, and galleries that tell the history of emigration, the Battle of the Atlantic, and tragedies at sea, such as the Titanic and Lusitania. A series of special displays and a gallery with fascinating archives, objects and paintings relating to Liverpool’s role in the American Civil War will be open to commemorate the Sesquicentennial from 2011-2015. The International Slavery Museum explores both the historical and contemporary aspects of slavery, addressing the many legacies of the slave trade and telling stories of bravery and rebellion amongst the enslaved people. Liverpool was a major slaving port - about 1.5 million enslaved Africans were carried by its ships. The museum is on the third floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum building and is divided into three galleries: Life in West Africa, Enslavement and the Middle Passage, and Legacies of Slavery. After an independent lunch, we will end the official tours by taking the Beatles “Magical Mystery Bus Tour”, a 2-hour tour on the colorful Magical Mystery Tour bus to places associated with John, Paul, George and Ringo as they grew up, met and formed the band that would take the pop world by storm. We will see their childhood homes and places that inspired some of their most memorable songs like Penny Lane and Strawberry Field, as well as other places of interest along the way.
A Special Farewell dinner is planned for this evening, included in your tour package.

Thursday, 27 Oct. Departure
Group transfer to Manchester Airport for the return flight home.
ADD-ON TRIP TO SCOTLAND: Oct. 27 – Oct. 30 Glasgow and Inverness
For details, contact Margo at mcarlock@vamuseums.org or 804-788-5821

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