locals and visitors together…

SATURDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2009

Prime of Miss Jean Brodie 

Penicuik Homecoming Open HouseMuriel Spark

MURIEL SPARK

Muriel Spark (1918-2006) was born in Edinburgh, the daughter of Bernard and Sarah Camberg.  She attended James Gillespie's High School for Girls where her class teacher, Miss Christina Kay, became the inspiration for Muriel's most famous creation – the Edinburgh schoolmistress Jean Brodie. –“Miss Kay predicted my future as a writer in the most emphatic terms. I felt I hardly had much choice in the matter” (Curriculum Vitae)

Penicuik Community Development Trust presents this travelling exhibition from the National Library of Scotland shown February 2009 (twice) and February 2010 (twice)

schoolgirl Muriel’s crowning by Esther Ralston

 

Plus : Nabil Shaban bookstall

 

plus PemicuikU3A contact point

 

 

Displays arranged by Penicuik Community Development Trust

in the Cowan Institute, Penicuik Town Hall Saturday 7 February 2009

 

Penicuik Homecoming Open House
Penicuik Community Development Trust
NLS Muriel Spark exhibition

 

Penicuik Homecoming Open House
Penicuik Community Development Trust
NLS Muriel Spark exhibition

Penicuik Homecoming Open House
Penicuik Community Development Trust
NLS Muriel Spark exhibition

travelling exhibition from the National Library of Scotland

 

 

SHOWN ALONGSIDE THE NLS EXHIBITION:

 

AMERICAN VENUS CROWNS A QUEEN OF POETRY

A newspaper cutting from 1932 of the award ceremony for a poetry competition run by the Heather Club, in memory of Sir Walter Scott.  The Heather Club had been first founded in 1732, refounded in 1823, and was long associated with Professor Blackie (1809-1895) the Scottish classicist, radical and man of letters.  The Club had its own premises at 291 Canongate, though this event took place in the full glare of publicity at the Ideal Home Exhibition.  Muriel Spark won first prize – a welcome number of books – but was less enthusiastic about the ceremony, which involved being crowned as 'Queen of Poetry' by the actress Esther Ralston.

Muriel Camberg Queen of Poetry 1932
Muriel Spark and Esther Ralston 1932
Penicuik Homecoming Open House 2009

Is there a story behind this newspaper picture?

What brought former silent movie star Esther Ralston “The American Venus” to this ceremony with an Edinburgh schoolgirl?

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

“Esther Ralston born September 2, 1902

Bar Harbor, Maine, United States

Died January 14, 1994 (aged 91)

Ventura, California, United States

Spouses George Webb (1925-1933) (divorced)

Will Morgan (1934-1938) (divorced)

Ted Lloyd (1939-1954) (divorced)

Esther Ralston was an American movie actress whose greatest popularity came during the silent era.

 

EARLY LIFE AND CAREER

Born September 17, 1902 in she started as a child actress in a family vaudeville act which was billed as "The Ralston Family with Baby Esther, America's Youngest Juliet." From this, she appeared in a few small silent film roles before gaining attention as Mrs. Darling in the 1924 version of Peter Pan.

 

In the late 1920s she appeared in many films for Paramount, at one point earning as much as $8000 a week, and garnering much popularity, especially in Britain. Displaying the sweet charm that credited her as "The Blonde Beauty of the Silent Screen", and by Florenz Ziegfeld, "The American Venus", she was among Hollywood's great silent film actresses. She appeared mainly in comedies, often portraying spirited society girls, but she also received good reviews for her forays into dramatic roles.

 

RETIREMENT

Despite making a successful transition to sound, she was reduced to appearing in B-movies by the mid-1930s, leading to her retirement. By the time she settled down in 1941, she had made over 150 movies. During the mid 1950's as Mrs. Esther Lloyd, a grandmother, she worked in the Seventh Church of Christ Scientist in New York. Lovely as ever and happy with her job of running the busy office single-handedly. Unlike other film actresses of her time, Esther had no yen at all for a comeback, satisfied with just being a movie goer. Esther Ralston died in Ventura, California on January 14, 1994.” -from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Esther Ralston
Muriel Spark display at Penicuik Open House

Esther Ralston
Muriel Spark display at Penicuik Open House

IN 1932 ESTHER RALSTON CAME TO BRITAIN TO STAR IN

ROME EXPRESS

Esther Ralston had been brought to Britain by producer Michael Balcon to star in the first film made at the big new Gaumont British studio complex at Lime Grove, Shepherd’s Bush, London.

Rome Express” is now little-known, but at the time many thought it the best British film that had ever been made.  Deliberately produced to appeal to the international market, it was cinematic and stylish (and the granddaddy of train films) with excellent performances from Conrad Veidt, Cedric Hardwick, Finlay Currie and Donald Calthrop as an art thief on the run.

Directed by Walter Forde, and in so many ways a model for Hitchcock’s later “The Lady Vanishes” the film is beautifully edited, smart with suspense and humour (“discretion is the better part of Wagons-Lits”), distinguished by stylishly nimble camerawork and excellent production design. Two huge studio sets accommodated both terminii and the impressive express train.

 

So what brought Esther Ralston to this ceremony with an Edinburgh schoolgirl?

 

In “Rome Express” Esther Ralston is simply delicious in a variety of stunning 1930s outfits, acting the jaded but very beautiful film star Asta Marvelle.  Her agent on the train is played by Edinburgh organist, choirmaster and actor Finlay Currie, here appearing in his very first film at age 54.

 

Did the fatherly Finlay Currie, with his Brooklyn-born wife, act as Esther Ralston’s friend and agent off-set? Did he invite her north to see his home city and take part in an Edinburgh photo-opportunity with his old friends at the Heather Club, using her exotic international celebrity to attract school-age writers to the world of poetry?

 

And did the cosmopolitan glamour, the stylish racy morality of “Rome Express”, and its intimations of Italy, have more influence on the young Muriel Camberg than she cared to admit?

 

 Esther Ralston
Muriel Spark display at Penicuik Open HouseMuriel Spark   Esther Ralston
Muriel Spark display at Penicuik Open House

 

The film of Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was shown in the Penicuik Film season on 21 February 2010

 

Finlay Currie
Muriel Spark display at Penicuik Open House

Edinburgh organist, choirmaster and actor

FINLAY CURRIE

 (1878-1968)

Finlay Jefferson Currie

His first film was Rome Express in 1932.

He is seen here in Michael Powell’s 1936 film “Edge of the World” shot almost entirely on location on the Shetland island of Foula.

FINLAY CURRIE & HELENA GLOAG

 

 

ALSO ON SATURDAY 7 FEBRUARY

NABIL SHABAN BOOK LAUNCH

Nabil Shaban at Penicuik Open House February 2009

Nabil Shaban at Penicuik Open House February 2009

 

 

locals and visitors together…                                                     .

 

ON STAGE ON SATURDAY 7 FEBRUARY

Jan Miller’s KELTY CLIPPIE

Jan Miller's Kelty Clippie at Penicuik Community Development Trust Open House 2009

 

 

 

Cowan Institute by Robin Macfarlan 

 

OTHER SATURDAY DISPLAYS

A few of over 100 Penicuik Open House weekly displays

KITTY FYFFE’S POSTCARDS

HEAT & LIGHT

OLD TOOLS

POSTERS

CAMERAS

OLD BOTTLES

SHOES & BOOTS

NEWS

HATS

U3A

ART

THE COWAN PAPER ADVERTISEMENTS OF 1944

FIFTY YEARS OF CUIKEN SCHOOL

PENICUIK’S CLYDESDALE BANK

PENICUIK INVESTORS IN THE US

LINEN

GAMES

TEDDY BEARS

MODEL BOATS

ALPINE FLOWERS

SNOW PICTURES

SIGNWRITING

HANDBAGS

ARTILLERY

SCOUTING

PENICUIK CO-OP

DISCOVERY AWARDS

CARNETHY HILL RACE

JACKSON STREET SCHOOL

SALTIRE HOUSING EXHIBITION

ROSLIN & THE STORY OF BOVRIL

THE FILMS OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK

DAME MURIEL SPARK: Scottish by formation

childrens book illustration of GERMANO OVANI

Galashiels Co-operators & the ideas of William King

IMAGES OF ESKBRIDGE  from Jim Neil’s collection

CORNBANK:  Penicuik’s Radburn estate from the 1960s

PENICUIK RAILWAY and its designer THOMAS BOUCH

Penicuik’s Concorde Designer  JAMES ARNOT HAMILTON

Penicuik’s International Photographer      ALBERT WATSON

Carlops’ International City Planner            THOMAS ADAMS

GENERAL MACZEK & THE POLISH ROAD TO BREDA 1944

General MACZEK & the GREAT POLISH MAP of SCOTLAND

Cowan Institute by Robin Macfarlan

ALEXANDER COWAN’S INSTITUTE

 illustrated by his great-great-great grandson Robin Macfarlan

 

The Cowan Institute -with library, halls and recreation rooms- was given to the people of Penicuik by the will of Alexander Cowan, papermaker. Operated for most of its life by the Cowan Trust, it was passed in 1960 to local management under the care of the Burgh of Penicuik.

On local government reorganisation in the mid 1970s the Burgh’s assets became vested in Midlothian Council, including the Cowan Institute and the endowments for social facilities the earlier Trust had provided.  Penicuik Community Development Trust was formed by public concern for the fate of the building after reports of its possible sale in 2005.

The Trust is a registered charity (SC037990) run and entirely supported by the efforts of Penicuik people, and hires space in the Institute to operate an Open House with displays every Saturday throughout the year, and a fortnightly Cinema on Sunday evenings.  It also works with the locally-run charitable bodies operating Penicuik’s Leisure Centre at Ladywood and the Penicuik Community Arts Centre in West Street.

JOHN YOUNG Paris refiner, Edinburgh fruiterer and Western Australian

                                                         Efforts to save Jackson Street School 2010

VISITING PENICUIK

PenicuikGREATS

PENICUIK IMAGES

PENICUIK CINEMA SEASON

 

Here are some upcoming events

And some back in 2008, in 2007, in 2006, in 2005, in 2004, in 2003, in 2002, and in 2001

Penicuik Arts Centre & Open Day June 2007

Penicuik Arts Festival: August & September 2009

See some of the faces of the friends of Penicuik Arts

PENICUIK HOME      PENICUIK MAKERS

 

 

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