Monday, 6 September 2010

The Friendly Invasion Begins!

A reminder that Matthew and I will be flying out this Sunday for our Autumn trip that we have brought forward from October for this year. 

It signals the Autumn invasion of The States not only from us, the rest of Savile Row and the UK but from all over the globe, with tailors hailing from as far as Italy and Hong Kong, amongst others.

However not to worry this is just a friendly invasion that we are about to embark on, unlike the only previous unfriendly invasion of England by the American Navy back in April, 1778,  led by John Paul Jones.

John Paul Jones was a Scot who had learnt his seafaring trade in Whitehaven, Cumbria and who would become the founding father of the American Navy and after sailing to America on the "Friendship of Whitehaven", Jones grew up as an adopted American.
The last invasion of the British Mainland occurred in Whitehaven, Cumbria in 1778 when John Paul Jones, invaded the port, late at night on April 22nd 1778.
In truth, despite being audacious, having the advantage of surprise and Jones’s inside knowledge, the attack had been a bungled failure. This seems to have been due largely to the American crew’s reluctance to "destroy poor peoples property" as Wallingford had put it. However, the shock waves, that it sent throughout the country were completely out of proportion with the mere few hundred pounds worth of damage actually caused and turned John Paul Jones into an infamous pirate. Importantly, it awakened everyone to the threat of invasion. The defences of not only Whitehaven but also the entire British coast were improved and more volunteers joined the militias. In short, John Paul Jones did Britain a favour because his actions probably prevented a full-scale French invasion.

Other famous connections between Whitehaven and USA:

  • The Betsy', built in Whitehaven, was the last ship to be scuttled in the American War of Independence, in York River, Yorktown, Virginia.

    'The Betsy' was the sister ship to the 1763 Whitehaven built slaver 'The King George', aboard which John Paul Jones was third mate and which the Beilby Goblet was made to commemorate - which can be seen in The Beacon
  • Robert Salmon, the 'Father of the American School of Marine Art' was born in Whitehaven in 1775
  • George Washington's grandmother, Mildred Gale, married a Whitehaven merchant and is buried in St. Nicholas churchyard.

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