Jessamine’s painting is another one of my treasures. And for those proponents of “We have NOT the past. We have NOT the future. We have only this moment,” I feel differently. I think that all we are for this moment is made up of all of the wee bits of everything we experienced and everyone we’ve known in the past. The inscription on the back of Jessamine’s painting, The Glade, caused me to further consider this.
The frame, solid wood…the painting kept stable in the frame with those little triangles of days gone by and edged with paper tape, crispy with age. These were rituals of the time, not considered of any consequence and yet noticed by this unknown writer/artist/mother/daughter of 2011. I wondered who Jessamine was as I looked at her signature.
She was born Jessamine Normandale Scantlebury, March 27, 1899. Her father was Edward Hugh Pengelly Scantlebury, born in October of 1875 and her mother was Ada Annie Normandale, lovingly called Nancie by her friends, born December of 1875. Of Edward, sometimes referred to as Ted, I learn this in the Journal of the Fell & Rock Climbing Club Edited by W. G. Stevens.
E. H. P. SCANTLEBURY, 1875-1952
“Edward Hugh Pengelly Scantlebury, son of a distinguished Servant of Admiralty, Thomas Scantlebury, came to Barrow-in-Furness in July, 1900, but it was not until six years later that he began to dream of a club that should be for those who were devotedto Lakeland. He was on a visit to his father’s house in N.W. London, in the Summer of 1906, and told me that friends in Barrow, Kendal and other parts of the District supported him.
In November, 1906, the Fell and Rock Climbing Club was formed, and members of other mountaineering clubs received a letter asking them to become members. The response made Scantlebury a very happy man; for he had come to the Barrow Shipyard from his apprenticeship at Fielding and Platt Ltd., Gloucester, and had not yet been accepted as a native. However, he had the strong support of many splendid friends and it was at Wastwater Hotel, on 30th March, 1907, that the first General Meeting was arranged by him.
It was a disappointment to him that Ashley Abraham and John W. Robinson, could not attend as President and Vice-President. Our Honorary Members could not come, and G. H. Charter, one of our Founders, was absent. A Chairman was appointed and the meeting duly confirmed its confidence in Scantlebury and the other Founders. How well they justified that confidence! What an everlasting debt of gratitude we owe to those men of Barrow, Ulverston, Kendal, Keswick and the rest of Cumberland, Furness and Westmorland. It was their local daily effort and their unbounded practical energy which built such a firm foundation.
I hope that Charles Grayson will be happy to know that we send to him, in U.S.A., our expressions of gratitude for his work, as a Founder in daily contact with E.H.P.S. The following is an extract from Grayson’s letter to me, dated 9th May, 1953:
—’It seems a very long time since that Sunday—11th November, 1906—when Scanty, Craig and I had been climbing on Dow Crags. When we returned to the Sun Hotel at Coniston, for supper before train time, we started chatting about forming a Club. Gordon and Charter must have been climbing too, and were sitting at another table. We called them over and—before train-time at 6-30—we had decided to start the F. & R.C.C I should mention that Grayson wrote this just after the death of his wife. They were both enthusiastic mountain walkers together, and some of the older Members will remember how active she was when she was a Member of the Club.
My recollection is that she joined in the second year. She resigned in 1921 when she realised that they would remain in U.S.A. Grayson has our deepest sympathy. From a first (1906) membership of under 60, the Club became about 260 strong in under three years and—in spite of the First War—increased to nearly 450 within 13 years. Unfortunately it lost some of Scantlebury’s unique help, as Editor and Secretary, after the end of 1910, but Palmer and Grayson replaced him, and Craig remained as Treasurer. Slingsby followed Seatree as President, and Colin Philip and Scantlebury became Vice-Presidents, after George Abraham and Woodhouse.
His home duties and work, at the Gun Department of Vickers, Sons and Maxim, prevented his regular attendance at Meets and Dinners but indirectly he was very active in the Club’s interests. Until I left for India in 1911, I was with him almost continuously, and learned then how exceptionally versatile he was. His colour and monochrome photography, water-colours and writings, his complete knowledge of the District’s topography and his musical taste were his more obvious gifts. Also, he was an enthusiastic gardener, a lover of animals, a skilled mechanic, and a woodworker. The pleasure in joining him in his hobbies was enhanced by the fact that he was never satisfied with his high standards.
Although we spent much of our time in rock climbing—he trusted me in all conditions of weather and on severe climbs—there is no doubt that he took the wider view of the glories of the District. He loved roaming into unfrequented valleys, villages and woods, as well as walking over the moors and fells. When the inevitable motor invaded the District he was able to make expeditions with his wife, Nancie (nee Ada Annis Normandale, of West Hartlepool) and his daughters, Jessamine and Mollie.
Excepting for a few climbs at long intervals, he gave up the more difficult climbs in 1921, when he was 46 years ofage. Among the many climbs we did together, those which appeared to me as the most difficult, were: — Gimmer ‘ A,’ in wind and rain; Great and Intermediate Gullies, Dow Crag, in winter conditions, and Keswick Brothers’, Scafell. The last was a mass of ice. The one ice-axe took a dive to Hollow Stones, and fortunately attracted the attention of Gemmell and Worthington, who went again to the top of the face and lowered a rope to us, from the soft snow in the shallow finishing gully.
He was born on 16th October, 1875, at Haddenham, near Aylesbury. Although of Cornish descent, his Alpha and Omega was Lakeland; and it was his genius—in approaching so many famous mountain lovers, and in seeking the generous support given by existing clubs—which made the Fell and Rock Climbing Club an immediate success. Although our membership is now nearly 900, it is well that we should approach 1956, the Club’s Jubilee year, with a proper expression of gratitude to the Alpine, the Climbers’, and other Clubs which responded to Edward Scantlebury’s appeal for members.
I know that it would have pleased that great and generous comrade, if the Club celebrates its Jubilee by thanking those parent clubs, and by establishing some additional safeguard for the sanctity of the Lake District. On 16th December, 1952, I received a long and cheery letter from him in all the buoyancy of earlier days. He died on 17th December at the age of 77, and, like the great man that he always was, showed a sense of humour to the end.
I thank all those who have helped me in this attempt to pay homage to Ted Scantlebury.”
T. C. ORMISTON-CHANT.
Jessamine and Mollie (Edward and Annie’s two daughters) must have also inherited some of their father’s love for the outdoors and for all things artistic. I have recorded in bold, above, Edward’s love for photography and watercolour, both, and it is evident through this exerpt that he was also immersed in the outdoors. Jessamine’s painting is of a location in the glades of her home, Tressillian Town Bank in Ulverston. The painting was likely done circa 1929-1935, sometime after marrying George Frederick John Newby in August of 1927. I have collected just a few photographs of the characters that come to life this morning through this story. I have accessed photographs through research specific to the Scantlebury family and would love to have this painting fall back into the hands of one of the family who would most treasure the piece. If no one comes forth, it will always have a special home with me.
I do not know how this painting came to be with me, but for me, it is filled with wonderful mystery. As I look at the brushwork, I imagine a woman who was dabbling in a hobby once treasured by her father. I imagine the fresh air of the location where she sat painting. Perhaps there was a picnic lunch packed. The carefully inscribed label, along with the identification No 2 “The Glade” and 6 pounds 6-0 leads me to believe that she was selling her work at one time. And how did this painting make its way to Canada…and then to Calgary, Alberta? What family members or art collectors hung this piece on their walls? If only art could speak! What would it say?