Friday, 22 June 2012

Beauchamp Park, Sydney

I never stop being astonished when I trip over something I wasn't seeking, something that ties into one of my obsessions.  The world really does feel like a small place occasionally.

Bill and I walked to the shops one day to pick up a few food items.  We happened onto this lovely little park. 

The names Beauchamp, Lygon or Madresfield probably don't mean much to most folks and I'm sure that a good percent of the world doesn't remember Evelyn Waugh. However, the name Brideshead sort of sticks in the brain I think.  

For those not familiar with these names, a short explanation is: a man named Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) wrote a novel called Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder which drew heavily on the real lives of the Lygon family, whom he met when he was attending Oxford University. The book is renowned for evoking the nostalgia of the interwar period in Oxford, before social changes chipped away at the privileged lifestyle of Britain's nobility. The head of that family, William Lygon (pronounced Liggon), was the 7th Earl Beauchamp (pronounced Beecham)and the ancestral family home was not called Brideshead as in the book, but was Madresfield.   Before being exiled from England for his homosexuality, which was then illegal here, Lord Beauchamp had also been Governor of New South Wales, the Australia state in which Sydney is located.


Sadly, I read that Lygon wasn't a big hit with Australians, owing to a reference he made to the 'birthstain' of their convict heritage.  So, I guess diplomacy wasn't his strong point. 

There was also a Lygon Street in Melbourne. We took a walk out there one of our last mornings and wished we'd done so sooner. Just out of the CBD, it was an oasis of calm. Street cafes lined one side and residents sipped coffee and read the papers under the shade of awnings. A nearby park and flats surrounding all made it look quite appealing. It is apparently a largely Italian sector and I'm sure there would have been some delicious meals to have been enjoyed had we discovered the area sooner.


Anonymous said...

How does one get Beecham out of Beauchamp? Interesting.

BigLittleWolf said...

These discoveries are so special. This spot looks like a treasure.

I recall stumbling into the remains of a 19th century graveyard in a small patch of untouched woods, about a mile from my home. I was stunned!

There were only a handful of gravestones still present, but it was quite peaceful and remarkable that any of it had survived - on a street that had been otherwise largely commercialized.

Carolyn said...

So glad you discovered that lovely calm area. Now you have a reason to return!

Lacey R said...

Doesn't that always happen? You only have little spare time left when you stumble upon gems? Never fails!

Anonymous said...

That book means so much to me, I walked down the aisle to the theme music to the TV series!

On staying slim - constant dieting, I never let it slip - very wearing, but my family are largely medically obese - it's in our genes.

Anonymous said...

It is a small world. I have been reading a collection of Waugh's travel he also lived in the golden age of travel.

Shelley said...

Bliss - Yes, it is strange, isn't it? I went to school with a girl named Beauchamp, which is how I learned this pronunciation.

BLW - That will have been an amazing discovery. Sounds like a v. peaceful place.

Carolyn - Yes, a return to Melbourne is very likely on the wish list.

LR - It does often seem that way, although I wouldn't wish to discount the many lovely things we had already seen. Perhaps it's akin to the idea of finding the thing you want in the last place you look for it.

Tabitha - How sad to always be on a diet, then again how admirable that you manage it. You must only take one bite or one sip of all those marvelous things you show on your blog! I've yet to see any televised or movie version of Brideshead. Must look into that!

Terri - I've never thought about it in terms of the golden age of travel...perhaps the British pound was so strong as to make European travel inexpensive. Then again, the middle and upper classes took it as a given that they would see the world - British Empire and all that. I'd not realised Waugh wrote travel books. I wonder if the tone he takes is amusing? Must look into those.

Beryl said...

Thanks for the background on Brideshead. Very interesting. I am often surprised at the British pronunciation of certain names - St John comes to mind.